The Bauhaus School of Design was founded in 1919 by German architect Walter Gropius. Although the school was active for only fourteen years, its adherents have had lasting influence on architecture and industrial design across Europe and North America. To mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus, the Embassy of Germany, in collaboration with EQ3 and Ottawa artist Cindy Stelmackowich, have opened an exhibit this week at the Ottawa Art Gallery.
Its influence is everywhere in Ottawa, even today.
For many, Bauhaus “style” is almost synonymous with modern architecture – use of basic shapes, minimalist lines and functional design. Its influence is everywhere in Ottawa, even today. The Ottawa train station, our countless government buildings, even the tubular metal chairs that are now commonplace are all in some way children of the Bauhaus school. The original idea behind Bauhaus was radical for its time. The school wanted to bring together fine art and practical design, to imbue everyday objects and buildings with artistic principles in order to combat what founders saw the soulnessness in the age of mechanization and manufacturing.
The language of Bauhaus is one of transition, between old and new ways of living, between high art and practicality. Walking through the exhibit, you have the feeling of seeing something familiar in a new light. The pieces on display are things from the household: lamps, chairs, tables, housewares. The exhibit peels back the layers of these everyday objects and you begin to see things like a designer. The why and how of their make-up gives you a sense of rediscovery.
The exhibit peels back the layers of these everyday objects and you begin to see things like a designer. The why and how of their make-up gives you a sense of rediscovery.
The furniture pieces, provided by Canadian furniture company EQ3, reflect the influence that Bauhaus still has on modern design. The exhibit also features photographs and a virtual reality experience of the Bauhaus school in Germany. This experience will be enlightening for interior design lovers that are interested in the story behind household items that seem to us normal and everyday. Visitors will be reminded that what we consider modern design style was once a countermovement to what was happening in society almost one hundred years ago. Styles survive because their ideas are still relevant. Check out the Bauhaus 100 exhibit, and you’ll never look at a modern piece of furniture the same again.
Visit Bauhaus 100 (re)imagined at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Hours are October 22 10am-3pm, October 23-25 12-7pm, and October 26 10am-4pm.